Photos, Artwork, & Musings on Life, Spirit, Entheogens, and What Is Real

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The Heretic – Article on Psychedelic Research

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Here’s a very interesting article from a couple of years ago that I want to pass along. “The Heretic” is from Tim Doody, originally published in The Morning News. He presents the life journey and describes a speech by noted psychedelic researcher, Dr. James Fadiman. He was part of the International Foundation for Advanced Study (IFAS), which was doing important research in the summer of 1966 when the Feds slammed the door on all psychedelics, including LSD.

This is a fine survey of that interesting story and its aftermath, plus an analysis of how these substances are slowly returning to the public surface once again, expressing how they should be reassessed for their immense value for healing and for inspirational creativity.

He relates Dr. Fadiman’s list of six requirements for a quality session with the these substances, which include well-known and established concepts of set and setting and an experienced and supportive Guide.

He also talks about the long tribal history we humans have had with the sacred plants, including this about Ayahuasca:

“It’s a fairly open secret that not only does the Amazon contain the necessary ingredients for ayahuasca, one of the strongest and oldest psychedelic brews, but that the forest itself isn’t so much a wilderness as a 10,000-year-old garden under indigenous management.”

He also talks about ontology, or the assessment of reality in the visions (one of my own deep interests):

“If reality isn’t shaped with the psychically aware, self-organizing units that Giordano Bruno called monads in the sixteenth century, then perhaps it’s woven with Indra’s net, the jeweled nodes of which stretch into infinity, each one a reflection of all others. To entertain such ontologies is to re-contextualize one’s self as a marvelous conduit in a timeless whole, through which molecules and meaning flow, from nebulae to neurons and back again. If certain of these molecules connect with our serotonin receptors like a key in a pin tumbler, and open a door to extraordinary vistas, why shouldn’t we peek?”

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Thanks to Mitch Schultz at DMT: The Spirit Molecule for the link.

 

 

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An Earth Blessing

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Bless me, O beautiful Earth.

Bless me, O beautiful Earth.

For I have come forth from You,

And, I return again to You.

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Bless me, O beautiful Earth.

Bless me through my feet.

Bless me through my legs.

Bless me through my body.

Bless me through my arms.

Bless me through my hands.

Bless me through my face.

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Give me your blessing

As I gaze at your beauty.

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I return your blessing

With every movement and

Every sacred Word.

I am filled up with You.

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Bless me, O beautiful Earth.

I am your Child.

I am Earth.

 

 

[Click any image for a larger view.]

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Secret of the Stars

“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.”
- Helen Keller

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[click for larger image]

Perhaps, as we gaze into the bright blackness of space, we may come to consider a compelling idea: that the portals and pathways to other worlds are not necessarily paths of simple distance or simply-ticking time. Perhaps, the portals we seek are of a different fabric and shape. It may be that they are not far away, not far away at all, though we think them unreachable except in our fantasies and myths. These endless other realities could be only a strange but simple turn away, just one small turn into a passage that we did not see, even though it was there next to our chair all along.

Let’s go look.

 

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Spirit Landscape 1

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How can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake, and talking to one another in the waking state?
– Plato

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Terrifyingly Beautiful

“Every rational creature has all nature for his dowry and estate. It is his, if he will. He may divest himself of it; he may creep into a corner, and abdicate his kingdom, as most men do, but he is entitled to the world by his constitution. In proportion to the energy of his thought and will, he takes up the world into himself.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature”

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“Beauty is the form perceived by the highest faculty of mind in the act of reflection. We naturally reside in the lap of a terrible beauty, terrible because it is devoid of sentimentality and utterly simple and just. It is also terrible because the emotion we describe as awe or wonder also has inherent within it an aspect of terror. If our ordinary experience is comfortable and banal, then revelatory experience is not, and the terror we experience at the edge of divinity in the country of the sublime is also terrifyingly beautiful.”
– Richard Geldard, “The Spiritual Teachings of Ralph Waldo Emerson”

 

 

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Emptiness and Substance

“But to me nothing – the negative, the empty – is exceedingly powerful.”

– Alan Watts

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“Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.”

– Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

 

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Dr. Iboga

“The time has come for more psychedelic explorers to come out of the closet about the benefits of these life-changing visionary plants. I want to live in a world where exploring a self-improving, 100 percent natural drug doesn’t come with jail time. Where peaceful navigation of different realms of consciousness is a basic human right.”
Genna Marie Robustelli

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This is from a very interesting article I found in The Tico Times (Costa Rica) from Genna Robustelli, about the effects and healing nature of the very intense entheogen called Iboga, native to Africa. I liked this report because it is focused on the curanderismo (healing) aspects of the experience, both from a physical standpoint and from a psychological/spiritual one. Encountering Dr. Iboga, as with Mother Ayahuasca, can result in a no-holds-barred, hard-core analysis of one’s situation in life and can bring clarity and new commitment to it. These experiences are unquestionably worth the discomforts one endures, but neither is an easy path to take.

Often, so called “trip reports” from psychic or entheogenic explorers can be so subjective or symbolic to that person that they are difficult for anyone else to completely relate to. This includes my own such reports from Ayahuasca experiences. Genna’s report is nicely described and gives what I can perceive is an authentic view of the physical and visionary effects that resulted. Although intrigued by Iboga, I have gravitated to Ayahuasca and felt that Iboga may not be the right path for me. I have to say, however, that I’m tempted by this particular set, setting, and approach. I’d like to see if it could help my own situation and provide another glimpse into that Other dimension that is so tantalizingly close to us, and yet seems so alien to our common lives. Iboga is obviously another powerful chemical ‘technology’ that can reveal the operating system of our souls and bodies – opening Blake’s doors of perception to reveal not only the Infinite, but our very selves within it.

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

― William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

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“No medicinal value? No medicinal value my ass. This plant’s medicinal value is indescribable – it’s off the charts. And to abuse this plant would be an incredible feat of human determination.”
Genna Marie Robustelli

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“Magicians of the Gods” Preview – Graham Hancock

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[ click image to go to the video ]

Graham Hancock is perhaps best known by millions of readers and fans as the author of “Fingerprints of the Gods,” a book that made him world famous and started a revolution in thinking about the hidden history of humanity. As Graham often puts it, we are a “species with amnesia” about our distant past, where distant means more than about four or five thousand  years ago. That book came out in 1995, and much of his speculation, convincing though it was, had to remain in that mode due to lack of hard archeological evidence. He has spent his time in the years since traveling the world, trying to discover those kinds of sites and artifacts with some success, but it has only been in the last few years that several new pieces of the puzzle have come to light. These include the spectacular archeological site in Turkey called Gobekli Tepi. This site has been carbon dated to around 12,000 years in our past, which coincides perfectly with the idea of a now lost civilization that existed prior to the end of the ice age and which was destroyed by the cataclysm that caused the ice to melt and the “world of men” to flood, giving rise to our worldwide flood myths and the stories of lost lands like Atlantis.

These discoveries have prompted him to write a sequel, tentatively titled, “Magicians of the Gods,” to be published next year. Here is a video of a lecture at Greensboro College in North Carolina, USA, where he gives us an overview of the material in the original book, and then things discovered in the interim that will be part of the new sequel. This video is more than an hour, but it will hold your interest without question until the end. (After all, he’s talking about the ancient history of all mankind here, which takes a bit just to cover everything!)

There are several other instances of this current speech of Graham’s on line, including one he posted today from a presentation in South Africa, but this Greensboro one seemed to have the best technical quality overall. That said, the two brief introductory speakers’ audios are not great, but Graham’s part is just fine, so don’t give up on it.

Author with Graham Hancock in Southern Utah, 2010.

Author with Graham Hancock in Southern Utah, 2010.

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Earth Lights, UFO’s, and Alternate Dimensions

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<Link to the article>

I’ve long thought that many UFO or strange light sightings are of natural, earthly origin, if still quite mysterious in their scientific nature. British author Paul Devereaux wrote an insightful book on the matter in 1989 called “Earth Lights Revelation” that links these sightings with fault lines. It is almost certainly what causes things like the mysterious Marfa Lights in West Texas (which I’ve witnessed) and ball lightning. Surely, many standard UFO “bright ball of light” type sightings fall into this category as well. Some new articles with photos about this phenomenon have just been published, including the one linked above. I love the photo showing several such ball lights “floating” above the ground and presumably emergent from a local fault line there.

That said, there are also many sightings and encounters of other phenomena that go far beyond these lights, and which I believe originate in some form of ‘parallel dimension’. This alternate dimension can be accessed, if only with great discomfort and hard effort, through the ritual shamanic use of entheogens like Ayahuasca and Peyote. Graham Hancock’s book, Supernatural, is a great introduction to this concept.

All such adventures are subjective experiences, of course, (at least for now) but there is a large consistency across all such human reports. I offer my own report of such a powerful experience in my series on Ayahuasca, linked in the sticky post at the top of my Home page (or here).

 

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A Police Captain Describes The Utter Failure of the War On Drugs

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To quote from the Upworthy site’s take on this video:

“Retired police Capt. Peter Christ is about to make more sense about the War on Drugs than anyone you’ve ever heard in the past. His basic premise is that we need to legalize drugs, but if you’re skeptical, just give him a few minutes to convince you.”

This man is simply the best, most concise speaker I’ve heard expressing this view on this incredibly important issue. Who better than a retired Police Captain to bring an authentic and experienced voice to explain how the use of prohibition backed by law enforcement to solve the drug issues in society has utterly failed and cannot possibly ever work! He also explains beautifully how it can be contained and controlled with the strong comparisons to the way we deal with alcohol and tobacco in our society.

This is about 15 minutes long, but this man is so well-spoken that it will be more than worth your time to watch and listen. I hope his visibility will increase and more of the mainstream public will be exposed to this critical paradigm shift in our group think.

 

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Fairy Hills and Earth Energy

As always, Joseph understood this correctly. A shift in perception by one dimension and we are there, already stepped into a place of energy – home of the Earth Mother.

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“Most of the fairy tales of Europe originate from the Celtic tradition. Now, there are lots of fairy hills in Ireland and one of the things about a fairy hill is that it’s invisible and nobody knows it’s there, and another remarkable thing about fairy hills is that you can walk in what you think is a straight line but you will have walked around a fairy hill—it is that inaccessible. Yet this fairy world is just one small dimension deeper than the visible world; it’s everywhere. The fairies are the inhabiting nature powers, and the reason they are so fascinating and enchanting is that their nature and your unconscious nature, your deep nature, are the same. The fairies are representatives of that permanent energy consciousness that underlies all the phenomenal forms of life. This is Mother Goddess stuff.”

Joseph Campbell, Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine

[Source: The Joseph Campbell Foundation]

 

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The Value of Psychedelics: Realigning Reality

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Graham Hancock posted a link to this article and I want to pass it along on my blog as well. It is a thoughtful and interesting essay on the value of ‘psychedelics’ in society and the shifts in the perceived nature of reality one obtains when working with them:

The Revolutionary Potential of Psychedelics, by Aaron Moritz.
www.aaronmoritz.net

He talks about the conundrum that although there is an infinite variety of unique personal experiences with these substances, there are also many common structures to those experiences from one person to another. Aaron states:

“An argument exists, and may not be easily solved, between whether the many compelling structural similarities give us a more fundamental insight into the nature of such mystical experiences than the seemingly endless amounts of detailed variation. Are they are a kind of metaphorical imagineering of the self, externalized and projected outward, or do they point to a more foundational ontological reality?”

This represents the very edge of the frontier. Since all such experiences are subjective, they can be denied by external reductionists while, for the partaker, the experience resounds with profound insights and meaning that he or she cannot deny by resorting to such reductionism and pretending it is all just a fantasy of brain chemicals. That being so, those who have had such immense experiences often find it difficult to interface with those who have not. Relating such experiences can result in being categorized as fanatical or delusional, which can affect their life in practical ways.

The structures of ancient shamanism provide a methodology to contain such experiences in a meaningful manner. Within it, we can place them inside a time-honored society and a set of techniques that, while never claiming to represent empirical proofs for the nature and reality of the vision experiences, legitimize them as personal and sacred experiences that have actual meaning across a broad spectrum of humanity.

Visionary experiences via psychoactive medicines like Ayahuasca, peyote, and psilocybin, often provide a new perspective that allows us – actually gives us the freedom and possibility – to examine that which we assume is reality and to question it for the first time:

“The extraordinary nature of my trips has forced me to question some basic assumptions about what it is that I, or we, can know. Objectivity, that holy ideal, seems now merely an attractive mirage, that when grasped at has actually left me stumbling and clutching air as it reappeares across the room.”

“. . . psychedelics instruct us on the arbitrary nature of consensus reality. A slight tweak in what constitutes our day-to-day brain chemistry, and colorful visionary patterns and interpersonal dissolution would be normality, while the idea that we are all separate individuals, apart from wholeness and love, would be the hallucinogenic trip.”

Once this happens for a person, this stretched and massively expanded perception of the universe can never be returned to the small container of reductionist consensus reality that he or she once held, perhaps by default. There exists now for them another vast and awe inspiring view of things. One only has to turn around and look at it. When we do, then who is to say which is the real and which the unreal? Perhaps both are ontologically real simultaneously in some larger multi-dimensional overview that takes us beyond our human limits.

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Dr. McKenna – Ayahuasca Experience video

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The Ayahuasca Trip

An interesting graphic animation of a reading by Dennis McKenna from his book “The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss.” In it, he describes a particularly awe inducing vision experience with the medicina. Dennis is the brother of the late Terence McKenna and his book is a good read about their relationship and their various pioneering adventures working with Ayahuasca and other entheogens.

His great vision, related here, is the kind of experience that draws people to Ayahuasca and can significantly alter one’s perception of themselves and of their place in the universe.

 

[Source: http://vimeo.com/80337226  --  Voice Media Group]

 

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Ecstasy

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“But ecstasy is not fun. Your very soul is seized and shaken until it tingles. After all, who will choose to feel undiluted awe, or to float through that door yonder into the Divine Presence?”

- R. Gordon Wasson

 

An original digital artwork by David P. Crews.

 

 

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Autumn Fire – Golden Aspens in Colorado

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“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

Autumn is my favorite time of year in Texas because it lasts longer than spring and the temperatures are such a relief after our hot summers, but there is little leaf color until early December, and then only a hint of the kind of color one sees in the northeast or in the mountains of the great American West. I love to make a special trip to see the aspens change in Colorado. Here is one of my photos for you – just an autumn greeting and a wish-you-well for the upcoming Thanksgiving and other holiday times.

I took this one just outside Silverton, Colorado a couple of years ago.

 

What does autumn go on paying for
with so much yellow money?”

― Pablo Neruda

 

 

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The Tribesman who Facebook friended me

I thought this was an interesting article from Salon.com about how our global communications technology is rapidly and energetically changing the world, but also how our perceptions and preconceptions about traditional tribal cultures are so often wrong and even insulting.

All these tribesmen really wanted after a visit to our Western culture was feather technology.

 

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Stone Spirit Woman

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This is a digital art and photograph collage, but the stone face is an actual formation I came across in a less-traveled region of a lightly traveled hoodoo wonderland called the Bisti Wilderness Area in northwestern New Mexico, USA (commonly called the Bisti Badlands).  Is it pareidolia – an accidental shape that looks like a face, or is it an expression of animism? Yes, of course, and perhaps, I think, the other as well. Having taken myself down under the skin of consensus reality and once meeting a female Spirit of the Earth, I treat such things as this with respect and honor.

~  ~  ~  ~

 

Spirit Stone Woman                                   (by David P. Crews)

 

Once, I was wandering through time,

Threading a tortuous line through

undulations and towers of rock and clay.

 

Sitting, resting from my efforts,

I looked up and saw her face,

Sudden awareness chilling my arms.

A crickle of power and presence:

I had come unawares into a place

of natural holiness.

 

I speak. I ask permission. I look.

I gaze into the sky as She gazes.

 

Who has spoken with her in ancient days?

How long has she watched the stars?

For whom does she wait?

A shape sits silent, breathing another air

poised on the edge of eternity.

 

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Moonrise

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From the swirl of

Unconsciousness

She rises.

A lantern

Glowing,

Revealing a

Pathway into

Dreams.

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An image I took of the moonrise over the Gulf of Mexico at Surfside Beach, Texas on October 23, 2013.

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The Stars Within

A new poem and artwork today.

It speaks of unfathomed dimension and scale in the human mind and soul.

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[click image for larger]

The Stars Within

 

Are we so small?

And yet are we many,

Oh so many, glowing here and there?

Bodies of intricate illusion,

Tiny swirls of light and bone?

Each contains a galaxy.

 

Breath and beat, independent

Engines that move us,

Just like all the others.

Fear and happiness

Shaping the face

Our mind looks out of.

 

Step within to see the trick.

Vastness. Volume –

Filled with stars.

Each the color of a memory.

Ideas cluster and flare: suns

Lighting the dark lanes.

 

Hard and cold planets, some

Massive and others minor;

Worlds of water and storms;

Orbs of unspeakable beauty,

Filled with people and stories;

Turn themselves ’round

And whirl within.

 

Some we craft with careful

Intention, spinning each one

Lovingly. Returning there,

Spending time, comforted –

Renewed by loved lands and faces.

 

Others, uncalled for,

Rush up to surprise us –

Alien visions within our domain,

We wonder who made these

Worlds we did not plan.

Our galaxy is so vast.

 

The stars within swirl right around

And sing the strands of Life.

They swirl right ’round:

An unexpected gleaming nebula

Clothed in humble membrane.

 

An unchartable symphony,

An unexpected dimension within.

A million million stars and worlds

Dance and turn about

An invisible Center,

An obscured Mystery.

 

We are many and oh so small,

And when each one is no more,

A wide galaxy, a very Universe

Transforming, winks away

Into unknown night.

–  –  –  –  –

[© David P. Crews, 2013]

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Happy Bartolomé Day!

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This coming Monday (October 14) is a Federal holiday in the USA called Columbus Day. As a person with some Native American blood and as an American who has worked with and honored native peoples, spiritual traditions, and cultures in the USA and in South and Central America, I refuse to honor it as such.

Christopher Columbus, was an amazing human man – amazingly murderous, greedy, sadistic, and foolish, that is. He caused devastation to the indigenous inhabitants of the western hemisphere that prefigured the terrors and ruin of the Spanish conquerors to come. He was truly something on the order of a Hitler or Stalin, concerned only with his own enrichment by any means while treating the people of his “new world” in ways that would make any thinking, feeling person blanch, recoiling in horror.

Over the centuries, he and his story were mythologized and spun to make him into the European noble explorer, finding a pristine new world and bringing goods to Europe while bringing civilization and the Christian religion to the “innocent natives.” If you are not familiar with his true story, this graphic cartoon version from The Oatmeal is a concise and effective primer. This author also offers a wonderful alternative to Columbus Day in the story of Bartolomé de las Casas, titled “Defender of the Indians”: the man we SHOULD be honoring on this day or any other. Please read and share this information with those who still hold the extraordinarily false myth in their minds of a benevolent and honorable Columbus.

Screengrab from The Oatmeal. Click to read the entire thing. It’s good.

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Be sure to click here or on the image and read the entire cartoon.

Columbus Day is simply shameful, and it’s far past time it was changed.

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A Spectacular Iboga Ceremony Photo Gallery

My friend, Mitch Schultz, director of the “DMT, The Spirit Molecule” film posted a link to some spectacular photos of an Iboga ceremony with the Bwiti tribe in Gabon, Africa. These are from a French journalist and photographer named Emilie Chaix.

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Iboga is one of the world’s great vision-giving teacher plants, roughly comparable in power and depth to Ayahuasca, yet very different in its presentation and physical effects. An Iboga ceremony can be days long and extremely challenging to the partaker. It can also bring strong insights and learning, as well as healings, to the participant.

Click through to her site and check out this wonderful gallery of photos of the once very secret ceremony from the Bwiti tribe, who are maintaining this important world medicine tradition.

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Graham Hancock exploring an amazing site in Turkey

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My friend, Graham Hancock, is exploring the ancient megalithic site in Turkey called Gobekli Tepe. It dates back an amazing 12,000 years to a time when conventional historians have humans in hunter-gatherer societies. Here in this very large site, we have many huge carved stones weighing 20 tons and more, arranged in numerous great circles similar to Stonehenge but much older, taking history back to the edge of the last ice age and the cometary destruction that likely caused it to end. Graham is writing a sequel to his most popular book, Fingerprints of the Gods, showing new evidence like this site that will shine new light onto our forgotten human heritage from a time before currently accepted history.

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Animation about Ayahuasca and Religion

Check out this fascinating short animation called “Trip” from a duo based in Sao Paulo. They choreograph projected animated characters onto real life backgrounds.

The film illustrates the journey many are now making from traditional religions to the direct experience of shamanism, especially through personal interaction with vision producing plant medicines like Ayahuasca.

 

Trip-animation

 

 

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My Photo Tour–Ayahuasca in the Amazon

 

 

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I’ve been on a bit of a ‘blogcation’ lately, but one of the things I’ve been working on is a PHOTO GALLERY of my recent trip to the Peruvian Amazon to work with Ayahuasca. This was my second trip to work at the SpiritQuest Shamanic Sanctuary, where I engaged with the great spirit medicine in five intense ceremonies. This photo tour will take you with me, showing the sanctuary, the verdant grounds and jungle, the process of preparation of the medicine, the actual ceremonies, visiting with some of the local tribespeople (Yahua, Bora, and Shipibo), and a special ceremony to work with Huachuma.

See my previous posts on this trip for more detailed information about these events. There is general commentary provided with these photos, but as this gallery is intended for a broader audience,  it does not present the in-depth detail you’ll find here on my blog. There are a lot of photos in the show, and I do hope you enjoy them. I have some video and audio elements I will share later.

 

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